Settle on one-way payment for E-levy - APC urges government

BY: Benjamin Xornam Glover
Hassan Ayariga
Hassan Ayariga

The founder of the All People's Congress (APC), Mr Hassan Ayariga, has urged the government to agree with the telecommunication companies on a one-way payment of the proposed 1.75 per cent electronic transaction (E-levy).

That, he said, would ease the burden on Ghanaians.

In an interview with the Daily Graphic on the brouhaha surrounding the 2022 Budget Statement and Economic Policy, Mr Ayariga stated that it was important that the citizenry either in the formal or informal sectors paid taxes for the rapid socio-economic development of the country.

He also urged the government to expand the economy through industrialisation and manufacturing to create more jobs for Ghanaians..

Touching on the walkout by the majority, Mr Ayariga indicated that the majority group in Parliament erred by walking out during the final stages of the debate on the government’s 2022 budget statement and economic policy.

The New Patriotic Party (NPP) members of the House who constituted the majority group walked out of the Chamber during the concluding stages of the debate on the budget last Friday, leaving the 137 Minority side with a massive 'No' voice vote to reject the 2022 Budget.

The majority group staged the walkout after their demand for the General Secretary of the NDC Johnson Asiedu Nketiah who was seated in the public gallery to leave Parliament after the Speaker had at the instance of the majority called for a division and ordered that the lobby be cleared.

The Minister of Finance, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, who was present in the Chamber was ordered out however the majority side who had spotted Mr Nketiah seated in the public gallery agitated that he also depart the Chamber for voting to commence.

Their request, which was not tabled before the Speaker, was not acceded to and in the ensuing confusion, the majority side walked out of the Chamber.

When the Speaker put the question for those in favour or against, the "No" voice votes had it and there was no "YES" voice vote.

Reacting to what transpired in Parliament House last Friday, Mr Ayariga said the NPP side should have stayed in the Chamber and debated the issues as well as participate in the voting.

“I think that the NPP needs to be serious on matters such as this. The budget is a very serious thing and walking out mainly because of the presence of Mr Nketiah in the public gallery of Parliament was unacceptable,” he said.

“Walking out on the basis of the presence of the NDC General Secretary in the public gallery was a flimsy excuse. Probably, the NPP side realised they did not have the numbers required to proceed with the voting and did not know what to do hence chose that path as an excuse to walk away from their own budget statement,” he stated.

Mr Ayariga said as far as he was concerned, Mr Nketiah’s presence in the public gallery did not offend any rule in the House.

He argued that as long as a person seated in the public gallery had not misconducted himself or herself or flouted the rules of the House, nothing barred him or her to observe proceedings.

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